The long haul

20140719-193011-70211127.jpgWell, I made it here in one piece. Greetings from a very warm and muggy Singapore!

The BA flight over was very comfortable. I’d managed to snag one of the upper deck Business Class seats (thanks to @FrankDJS) and found it hard to stay awake once we boarded at 7:30pm. Take off was slightly delayed due to weather near Dover (?!) but we made up for it on the flight over.

Honestly, I wolfed down my dinner so I could get my head down. I only managed to watch half of Captain America: Winter Soldier (still my favourite film of 2014) before I fell asleep. I think I got about 7 hours sleep all in all.

Then woke up to a cracking breakfast before we landed. Thank you British Airways!

So far all I’ve seen of Singapore is the airport, the drive to the hotel and the hotel itself. All were lovely.

The hotel is a cracker – amazing service from the minute our taxis pulled up outside. I got a room upgrade thanks to one of the many, many hotel loyalty cards I carry around.

Looking forward to trying out the gym and pool tomorrow. Tonight (it’s 7:30pm here) it was all about getting a shower and a change of clothes before heading out for dinner.

Despite all I are on the plane I’m once again starving. No change there, then.

RIP, Elaine Stritch

Apart from all the other horrific news today, I was really sad to learn of the passing of the amazing, fabulous and indomitable Elaine Stritch. I wouldn’t even attempt to do her career justice on this blog. It was immense.

Instead, here’s a clip of her performing at the celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday. At the age of 86. I hope I can see clearly and dress myself at 86. Never mind get a standing ovation for a performance like this. Inspiring stuff.

Amazing. There’s going to be a hell of a party wherever she ended up this evening.

And for just a peek at her at her best, here’s her acceptance speech at the Emmys in 2004.

She will be missed.

Advanced planning…

I picked up a 2015 year planner for my Filofax while in Selfridges yesterday. I’ve been working on some big, long-term projects (more on that in a few months) lately, and I’ve noticed that looking at the year on a single sheet of paper is actually more helpful than on screen.

Even the 21″ screen of my iMac.

Having used my 2014 planner to good effect, I picked up one for next year, as some of my projects definitely spill over into 2015.

Most helpful? Seeing ‘blocked out’ days that are either already spoken for or are spent on a plane. I’m definitely not noting exactly what I’m doing on each day – that detail still goes into my calendar on my iPhone/iPad/iMac. But for a top-down view of my general business and key deadlines, paper can’t be beat.

Planning your week is very, very useful. Reviewing your month also. But seeing your entire year, its commitments and – for me, anyway – where free spots are, to facilitate travel to far-flung lands, is incredibly useful. Seriously though, it’s too easy to over-commit or be too optimistic about what you can actually do without a higher-level view of time.

I’d never (if I can help it!) book in two full weeks of training delivery, for example – as it just keeps me away from the ‘office’ and the day to day admin that needs to be done in a business. All that stuff piles up in the background. Looking at my calendar only from week to week means this could actually happen!

David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ methodology reminds us to look up from the immediate tasks level on a regular basis. It’s a really useful way to remain mindful of longer term commitments and goals. A pure focus on tasks to be done in the here and now means we’re unlikely to ensure we achieve goals most important to us.

I’ve been playing around with the year view for a few months now. It’s not a replacement for iCal, and couldn’t accommodate the level of detail I put into my electronic calendar. But for getting a bird’s eye view of commitments and free time, I can highly recommend it. I’m not a fan of writing and re-writing things: be it to-do lists or calendar entries. So only the most important and key deadlines go in here.

And I’m even using colours. Which is most unlike me! But it helps me tell what’s what on such a small page. Green for confirmed client work, red for ‘blocked out’ or ‘busy’ time and yellow for my holidays. The latter is quite motivating! I’m counting down the days until our next trip to Japan. But I can also see the relatively ‘dead’ time around the Christmas holidays and other Bank Holidays.

This is not me moving to paper full-time – I couldn’t live without my gadgets – but for high-level planning, I can really recommend the year planner approach.